David Mitchell’s critically acclaimed novel “Cloud Atlas” (2004) as well as its 2012 adaptation for screen by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer is mainly concerned with human nature itself. The plot revolves around various incarnations of a main character in different lifetimes, spanning from the 18th century up into a postapocalyptic future. The book and the movie brilliantly unite various forms of genre fiction: A slave trader’s travel diary, an anthology of love letters, comedy, crime, dystopian science fiction and finally a postapocalyptic tale.
This unification of styles is in stark contrast to the theme of the book which essentially is a neverending struggle for unity in the face of division along the lines of social standing, race, class and other perceived differences between humans.
Mitchell, David. Cloud Atlas. London: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd., 2004.
The Wachowskis, Tom Tykwer (directors). Cloud Atlas. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2012.